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Women, Sport, and Film - 2004
Student Papers
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A Bat in the Wind


Katie Haymaker

Assume you are a screenwriter in the year 2010. You have been commissioned to write a movie script about women's sports and current society. What is the theme? Who are the protagonists? What are the issues and how does the movie end?

"A Bat in the Wind"
Timeless themes of equality, truth and perseverance are presented in this heartwarming tale of one courageous softball player and the wiffle bat that she adored. It all begins one summer day shortly after Tegan's sixth birthday. The scene opens with the young girl enviously watching a group of children play wiffle ball in the park across the street from her grandmother's house. She furtively glances behind her at the kitchen entrance and listens to the sounds of lunch preparations while contemplating the distance to the door. With a determined look in her eye, she takes a shaky deep breath and dashes out to the park to join the game, all the while looking back and wondering what her grandma would say. She approaches the field and stands by the rusty fence behind the plate. One of the older girls she looks about ten or twelve spots Tegan and invites her to join in. The kids show her how to swing the bat and the pitcher starts to toss the ball in her direction; they let her keep swinging until she hits one. When she does, the light wiffle ball catches the wind, floats high in the air, swirls around a bit, and lands two inches from Tegan's feet. After staring at the ball in wonder, she looks up and a slow smile spreads across her face. The other kids laugh and Tegan joins in with glee. The boy at first base looks at his watch and yells, "Hey, it's lunch time," causing all the wiffle ball players to scatter and race home in search of food. The girl that invited Tegan to play tells her to come back tomorrow in the morning to play a game with them and Tegan agrees with an enthusiastic nod of the head. She turns to run back for lunch, and sees her grandmother waiting by the fence.

"Why didn't you tell me where you were going, Tegan? I couldn't find you in the house and I was worried."

"I thought you'd be mad at me," the young girl cried.

"For playing a game?" her grandmother asked. Tegan nodded with a shameful look on her face. "No, I'm not mad at you! I think it's wonderful. In fact, why don't we go to the store tomorrow and get you a ball and bat of your own to practice with?"

The next day, Tegan's grandmother bought her a yellow wiffle bat that sang in the wind and a ball that whistled as it flew through the air. Tegan played wiffle ball for two years before moving up to softball, but she always kept the wiffle bat that her grandmother gave her.

Later, when Tegan gets to high school in 2010, she is disappointed to learn that her school doesn't have a girl's softball program. She makes inquiries to the athletic director, who curtly informs her that there used to be a softball team, but funding was reduced and there is currently no room in the athletics budget for another sports team. He suggests that she join in with one of the local softball programs, but Tegan argues that many of her classmates and other girls in the high school are interested in playing and that a school team would be appreciated by the students, especially the girls who want to participate.

"The boys have a baseball team; why isn't there a softball team for the girls?" she demanded.

The athletic director gave an impatient sigh and said, "Look, I'm not against having a softball team I'm actually all for it, but the money just isn't there. The sports program has taken some big cuts in the past couple of years, and the cost of adding another team, the equipment, coaching, it's just too much for right now...like I said, there are some pretty decent softball programs in the area, I think you'd do fine at one of those."

That night, as Tegan is passing the field where she first started playing wiffle ball, she decides to challenge the school's athletic fund distribution. With her grandmother's help, she starts to research the Title IV law and tries to form a proposal that will allow for the addition of a softball team to the school's athletic program. When she presents it to the athletic director, he surveys it with suspicion.

"I appreciate all the work you put into this, but I'd like to remind you that part of my job is planning the budget, and this simply is not feasible. I can't cut a percentage of the funding from the football and basketball programs; it's just not an option the revenue that they bring in "

"Excuse me," Tegan says, placing a copy of Title IV on the director's desk, "I don't think we have any other options; I've looked into the distribution of funds in this school's athletic program and the percentages of students who play sports, and they don't quite comply with these regulations."

"I don't see how we can manage this...," the athletic director replies, shaking his head. "This will cause problems, but I can see that you plan to see this through, and I don't think a court case is what this school needs.... [Dramatic pause] Alright I'll work with you on this one. With fundraising and some adjustments to the budget, we can try to get a softball team going."

"Thank you so much!" Tegan exclaims.

While walking home she passes the old park where it all started, and sees a group of kids gathering. She races to her room to retrieve the wiffle bat her grandmother gave her, and joyfully joins in the game. Two years later, her school's softball team re-entered the league that it had left a decade before, and Tegan was the first to the plate.

The End.

This movie would deal with issues that still face women in sports today. Although the question of whether women should play sports has been for the most part settled, problems still exist with the equal funding and opportunity. Tegan's early positive experiences with sports helped her to develop the determination necessary to work towards the change that she wanted to see. The happy ending comes through her strong will and love for her sport.






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